It’s no secret that the city of Chicago has a problem with guns. While it may be one of the hardest counties to purchase one, the city’s streets are flooded with guns and morning headlines similarly filled with the effects of their availability. Following a recent uptick in gun-related crimes involving teenage offenders, the city council has moved to introduce legislation that would make parents responsible for children arrested or found possessing firearms.
The measure was introduced by Ald. Ed Burke (14th) and Ald. Ray Lopez (11th.) and specifies that parents who know their children under seventeen are in possession of guns but don’t make a “reasonable effort” to remove the weapon could be sentenced or forced to attend social service programs. The bill introduced last Wednesday doesn’t specify what “reasonable effort” amounts to.
“We need to step forward and put in place a system that holds parents accountable while providing them with support services,” Burke said.
The announcement of the possible new rules comes as the city has shown a concerted effort to put a larger onus on parents to help with the endless spate of violence and shootings that have plagued the city’s youth on the south and west sides and beyond. In April a pair of kids aged 15 and 12 were involved in several robberies in Woodlawn and the weekly rundown of gunshot victims regularly includes underage victims and perpetrators alike.
Along with the requirements for parents to be involved with kids possessing guns, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans earlier this year to make having post-high school plans a requirement for graduation at Chicago Public Schools, a move that has been met with skepticism. This goes along with the severe funding gap for Chicago Public Schools that has threatened teacher’s salaries and the length of the school day and year in the city.
The measure will be up for discussion next month.
“The ultimate goal is keeping our children safe,” Lopez said.